An International View on Design

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CSES2014 attendee Holly Moore describes the differences of designing in the UK and the US

United Kingdom vs. United States

TranslationWhen I started my business, United Kingdom-based Make Events, I wanted to be creative, exciting and unique. With our marquees, we tend to use simple black star cloth, ivory drape and sometimes clear span. I started to follow companies like Revelry Event Design on Instagram whose draping installations are amazing and then would have to find a seamstress I could work with to create such dramatic décor. My plan for going to the 2014 Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow was to push these boundaries for my designs.

The main difference I found at CSES2014 is the décor. I found that in the US there is a far wider range of fabrics. In the UK, we are very limited on hire as there are plain linens, taffeta and some patterns, but not many as sequins are just starting to appear now. If you want something bespoke you have to source the fabric yourself, then get the fabrics made, which can be cost-prohibitive. Here at Make Events we don’t like to use the same thing twice so we tend to carry a low amount of stock and hire in accordingly for each event.

Chair covers in the UK are also much plainer. We have the linen, crushed velvet and sometimes taffeta, but not in a great range of fabric…we also have spandex in various colours. Chivari chair covers and slips have just started to come in over the last couple of years, but in no comparison to what Wildflower Linens or Chameleon Chairs have to offer!

Fabric draping is far behind as well and that is what sent me on my quest to visit an American show.



Typical entertainment for a wedding in the UK would be some kind of string quartet for a drinks reception. A function band and a DJ for the evening, and then perhaps a magician for throughout dinner; clients with more budget will go beyond this.

We like to look at the traditional and twist it so if a client wants a magician, how can we present this differently? A female magician is still unique here, an aerial artist magician that hangs over the tables, or even an iPad magician. One of my most popular artists is a little lad called Dan who is 9 –he is amazing and when Dynamo was asked in an interview recently who has impressed him, he said “Dan Rhodes”.

Trending in the UK

  • Street food is becoming popular for the evening food. Something we have been doing for a while but ever popular is bacon butties at midnight.
  • Watercolor themes are trending, particularly in stationary.
  • Rose gold is now very popular for wedding and engagement rings, which we will see transferred into the ceremony mixed with beautiful vintage nudes.
  • Another trend that we are starting to offer is getting married in the morning and having a true wedding breakfast with bucks fizz and a luxurious brunch. Afternoon tea is very popular here with a male and female version – the male having mini pork pies and a half beer rather than champagne.
  • Cakes can be themed and decorated to match the style of the wedding. This teamed with an elegant vintage décor is beautiful. We would then suggest themed waitresses or even a tealeaf reader.
  • Acoustic bands that wander round the tables and entertain throughout the day and night rather than just a set later on at night.


Main Distinctions

My general observation is weddings in the US are more opulent and classic, whereas in the UK they can be very modern-themed – a lot of UK brides will want something different than flowers. I honestly feel, as I will bring ideas from the US to translate to the UK, the use of food as part of the day and the luxurious use of fabrics and furniture will help my design skills this year.

In fact, I designed a marquee when I got home and after listening to Melissa Brannon of Uncommon Events talk at CSES2014, I designed in a very different and unique way with a dance pit! The client “loved the design” and if I didn’t realise already, it cemented why we had invested in traveling to Vegas.




Established in July 2012 by Events Director Holly Moore, Make Events strives to listen to clients and in turn create bespoke events with a unique experience for every client. The team has over 30 years’ experience in events management, creative live events and hospitality from across a variety of sectors.

About the author : Event Solutions

Event Solutions

Since 1996, Event Solutions has been giving corporate, association and independent event and meeting professionals the resources they need to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the industry. From cutting-edge features on trends and technologies to behind-the-scenes profiles of some of the industry’s most prestigious events, we provide professionals with the resources they need to succeed.

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